THE URBAN FARMING™ COEXISTENCE MODEL
Urban Agriculture: Many of the communities that we serve are located in what is called a Food Desert. Many of these communities are also suffering from “Food Insecurity.” A food desert is an area that has no access to fresh, healthy food for miles. Food Insecurity means that a person has to frequently worry about how to feed themselves or their family. The concept of a food desert first came to introduction in the United Kingdom in the early 1990’s. It brought to light the extreme disparities in food pricing which lead to an environment unsupportive of health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food deserts are ”…areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.”*1 Food retailers move out of urban areas and residents no longer have close access to fresh, good quality foods.
WHAT URBAN FARMING DOES IN URBAN AGRICULTURE:
So where do the residents buy their food? The food sources in these food deserts are generally at fast food restaurants or in small corner stores where only ‘C’ or ‘D’ grade vegetables are sold in small, limited quantities. The Urban Farming Gardens provide fresh, free food to stressed neighborhoods along with a relaxed feeling of no fences and they touch the hearts of people.
Gardening is one of America’s favorite pastimes. During World War II, nearly twenty million Americans planted Victory Gardens and they grew almost half of this Nation’s produce supply. They grew forty percent of the produce supply during that time and it was a part of the war relief effort. People grew food also during World War I and the gardens were called the Liberty Gardens. During both World Wars, gardening was not only essential for the war relief effort but it was considered a patriotic act. Europe had serious problems producing enough food during World War I because all of the farmers were fighting. The United States and Canada took on a large part of the responsibility to provide enough food for 120,000,000 people in the countries of the Allied Force. *2
According to our primary research, the garden benefits are: beautification of the surrounding areas, decreasing the stress level of the local residents and emergency food relief of healthy, fresh produce. According to one study, people who participate in community gardens have a “greater consumption of fresh vegetables compared to non-gardeners, and lower consumption of sweet foods and drinks. *3 Another study revealed that “a significant reduction in total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and systolic blood pressure was associated with either walking or gardening...” *4